Graduate Student Campus Climate Studies
The Office of Graduate and Professional Studies facilitates an assessment of the graduate student campus climate once every three years, based on the directives of the Texas A&M University Diversity Plan (Office of the Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity, 2009) and goals identified in Vision 2020: Creating a Culture of Excellence (Vision 2020). The University Diversity Plan comprises three elements: accountability, climate, and equity.
At Texas A&M University, “we routinely assess the climate to understand how the climate is perceived and experienced by faculty, administrators, staff, and students.” (diversity.tamu.edu)
The primary purpose of the graduate student campus climate assessment is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the experiences and perspectives that graduate students share during their time at Texas A&M University. In response, the University can generate activities that contribute to a climate of understanding, respect, acceptance, and teamwork.
Spring 2012 Survey
In the spring of 2012, the Texas A&M Office of Graduate and Professional Studies partnered with the Graduate Student Campus Climate Guiding Committee to facilitate the first assessment of university-wide graduate student campus climate. All master’s and doctoral students (College Station campus) were invited to take the survey, and a total of 1,410 (15.5%) students responded.
The survey results helped identify both strengths and challenges related to graduate student campus climate, including four issues that were considered high priority:
- Overall campus climate for underrepresented graduate students
- Institutional commitment to and perceived value of diversity
- Instances of incivility and inappropriate behavior, and
- Quality of life concerns
These issues were studied in-depth and recommendations were made for improvement, with input from various graduate student groups across campus.
Overall, results of the campus climate study were positive, with 74% agreed they felt prepared for the future career, 75% reporting that they were satisfied with their academic department, and 81% agreed that they were glad to have attended Texas A&M. Re-assessments will be made every three years, to ensure that recommendations and policy changes will have the desired results. Though the current survey makes strides towards the ideal, only with the lasting commitment of the entire campus community will Texas A&M succeed in attaining an optimal campus climate welcoming and respectful to all.